Hurricane Michael roars ashore as strongest storm to hit Florida Panhandle

Jan Cross
October 11, 2018

"The roads are blocked", Sgt. Angelie Hightower told TIME.

A man in Greensboro, Florida, was also killed when a tree crashed through his home and trapped him. Officials hadn't immediately confirmed the man's name.

Michael grew from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane in about 40 hours. By 8pm, it was down to a category 1. Some areas could see as much as 12 inches of rain. "It's like a nightmare". You are not going to survive it. How can this happen?

"We are attempting to get to the home". "That's the only thing I can imagine".

Panama City was a war zone, with windows blasted out and streets littered with debris.

Sally Crown rode out Michael on the Florida Panhandle thinking at first that the worst damage was the many trees downed in her yard.

If Hurricane Florence was a slow-motion train wreck, Hurricane Michael is a 4-ton wrecking ball.

As many as 320,000 people on Florida's Gulf Coast had disregarded evacuation notices, according to Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross.

Almost 30 million people are in danger of being impacted by Michael, according to estimates.

Before the storm made landfall, Scott said he activated 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard. A pine tree punched a hole in their roof and his ears even popped when the barometric pressure went lower. As it moved further inland, its crushing force subsided.

Scott had earlier said the hurricane would bring "unimaginable devastation" and said he was "scared to death" for those who ignored evacuation orders.

"It's going to be terrible", Thomas told CNN. I don't know where they are.

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"We basically just walked away from everything and said goodbye to it", he said, tears welling up. "We will take care of each other".

The eye of the storm, ... Surges of as high as 14 feet are expected around where Michael made landfall near Apalachicola, Florida. Coupled with that you have over 145 miles per hour winds.

"We're going to see a lot of wind damage", Long said, and some residents could expect not to have power restored for weeks. At least 51 people were killed. The storm had top sustained winds of 96 kph and was moving to the northeast at 32 kph.

"I've never been through one this bad", Nelson said.

National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen added: "We are in new territory".

Hours earlier, it made landfall in Florida as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in almost 50 years and the third-strongest ever.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for all of Florida, freeing federal assistance to supplement state and local disaster responses. Some 17,000 utility restoration workers were also on call.

For insurance-linked security (ILS) and catastrophe bond interests though, this initial estimate perhaps will give some comfort that the impacts to the sector will not be particularly significant, compared to a similarly severe storm impacting an area of Florida with higher levels of property density and exposure. "Do not risk your life, leave NOW if you were told to do so", it said.

Multiple airports were closed on Wednesday, including Tallahassee International Airport, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Pensacola International Airport and Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.

The governors of North and SC urged residents to brace for heavy rain and storm-force winds as Michael plowed northward up the Atlantic seaboard. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging wind and rain all the way into the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence's epic flooding.

"Hurricane Michael is an unprecedented event and can not be compared to any of our previous events".

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